Single For Years? It’s Not Necessarily You…

Two weeks ago in the New York Times, Sara Eckel described how difficult it was to explain to her dates that she hadn’t had a serious boyfriend in eight years. EIGHT YEARS.

One of her dates actually asked her: “What’s wrong with you?”

“I don’t know,” she answered.

Eckel worked hard to fill her life with activities to avoid the pain of being single. She writes “I went on Internet dates, speed dates and blind dates. I had great hair and a confident smile. But I was still alone. And in the dark of Saturday night, I still asked myself, ‘What’s wrong with me?’”

After dating her future husband for a month, she revealed her eight-year relationship drought. “Lucky for me,” he said, “all those other guys were idiots.”

To him, she was not a problem to solve, or a puzzle that needed working out. She was the girl he was in love with.

This article has been a very popular one – one of the most emailed New York Times pieces this week – because it pretty much says that you will fall in love and that nothing has to change. Who wouldn’t like that message?

And while I’m pretty sure I’m not “The Man” she refers to in the article, the tips she mentions to finding love aren’t necessarily bad ones. Furthermore, there is no love without opportunity, and though the author seems to think that it just happened when she met the right guy, it REALLY happened because she went through that process of learning and dating and soul searching. Ms. Eckel didn’t just sit on her ass, complain that men suck, and give up on dating. Even if she didn’t have to fundamentally change who she was, she had to have enough experience to appreciate the good man who finally appreciated her and wanted to lock her in – instead of bailing on him because he was “too nice” or “safe” or “boring”. This, by the way, is essentially half of my message – appreciate the man who appreciates you (the other half being “be the best partner you can be”).

So, do you feel like Sara Eckel? Do you think that it’s silly to try to do something different to achieve a different result? Do you think that the best way to fall in love is just be yourself and hope?

I don’t believe this at all – Ms. Eckel did indeed get lucky – but I can acknowledge why women have been passing this article around like a joint. The best kind of change is the one that you never have to make.

Read the piece here and share your feelings in the comments below.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Shoshi

    Sara didn’t give up and did exactly what you, Evan, is telling us women. Don’t give up and go on dates. You can meet the ‘man of your dream’ anywhere, but you have to take your chances and put yourself out there. And when this wonderful man comes along you’ll appreciate him for appreciating you. But from my experience, it took me a long time to realize the latter…. I believe that I’m getting closer to meeting the right man, because I did the soul searching and learned from my experience as Sara did. I changed my beliefs…

  2. 2
    Gina

    Great article! I was just talking to one of my girlfriends this morning about this very same topic.  We both realize that the reason why we are still single isn’t because there’s something so wrong with us that makes us unlovable. Yes, you’ve got to consistently put yourself out there to meet someone, but ultimately meeting the right guy is pretty much a numbers game. Although you increase the likelihood of winning the more you play, but there aren’t any real guarantees that your lucky number will come up.  The other thing that is sad but true is that some women, no matter how hard they try, may never end up meeting the right guy.

  3. 3
    melie

    Sara Eckel seems to have it all, except the one thing she thinks she really wants.  Why does she not admit to not meeting the man she hoped to be linked with for life?
    And why does that mean there has to be something wrong with her?  I believe that not getting with a person that you don’t like to be a good thing.  If he gives you the creeps, move on.  If he doesn’t want to work around your schedule, move on.  I am not talking about finding fault with everyone you meet, but why do we have to just like and be interested because they are interested in us.  Ewwww.  Some of the men that have expressed and interest, only a mother could love, and if she knew what they were really like?!?! even that would be doubtful.  And I don’t blame Sara for cringing when a man asks, when was your last relationship or how long has it been?  You never know what he is thinking unless he tells you and even then it may be a nice cover for>>>>>Oh, goody!  She is ripe!  Hasn’t had sex in ages!<<<< Yeah, no wonder the fairer sex is sooo jaded!  Men really can be asses!  And yes, even the ones we may end up marrying. LOL 

  4. 4
    Teresa

    I don’t see where she says just be yourself and hope.  She worked on her issues, consulted the self help experts, internet dated, speed dated blind dated changed her looks had an active life.  Then she met someone and there was mutual appreciation and acceptance.  As title is “Sometimes It’s Not You” this would not be applicable to all women.  What I get from the article is at some point you got to stop beating yourself up because you are still single.  Because you can be the best you possible,  love yourself appreciate men and still be single

  5. 5
    Ruby

    The great thing about Sara’s attitude is that she didn’t force herself to be in a relationship with the wrong guy. I’ve seen too many people, both men and women, do this just to avoid being alone. It’s always seemed ironic that the men who have been the most judgmental about my being single had terrible marriages and relationships  themselves – maybe they couldn’t stand the thought of being alone?

    Sara did learn, and date, and soul-search, but she also did – ultimately – meet the right guy. Who says that has to happen to everybody by the age of 30? Could it also be that after 8 years of singlehood, she was, finally, ready for the right man to come along? Would he have been the right man for her at 24 as he was at 39?

  6. 6
    Kate

    It’s a nice story because it is inspiring. It feels like the columnist version of a trailer. I say that because she did not share what happened in her path to get her to that point.
     
    Was it because she came to some realization? Was it the length of the courtship that made her finally fall in love? Was it because he was the only guy that kept showing her interest? I think EMK is suggesting that it just took her this length of time (a critical mass of experiences so-to-speak) to finally accept the next man that was seriously interested in her.
     
    If my math is correct, I also notice that they were dating 5 years before getting married. So there still does sound like some commitment issues there!
     
    I’d love to know more of her story. This is the puzzle that was not shared in her article!

  7. 7
    Helen

    Not to keep bringing math and statistics into this, but it is relevant here…

    It seems pretty obvious that as long as you keep searching, you’ll have a better chance of someone who accepts you just as you are if you keep going at it for a long time.  The world is vast, and there are many types of people; you just have to keep meeting new ones.  If you want to find someone in a shorter amount of time, then it makes sense to try to change yourself.

    Then again, as Teresa pointed out, Sara did try to change herself.  But she didn’t make it clear in her piece whether those changes made it easier for her to get along with her man, or whether those changes made no difference. 

  8. 8
    Allison

    I was hoping you’d comment on this article, Evan!
     
    …but I agree with Teresa.  I don’t think the author is saying don’t work on yourself and don’t try to create opportunities to find love.  She DID all those things– she just still had to wait a long time to meet the right guy.  And when you can genuinely look yourself in the eye and know that you are trying your best, making all the effort you can, and not sabotaging the relationships that do come your way (because you’ve read everything Evan’s written that you can get your hands on!:), and you’re STILL single, the only thing to do is keep making an effort, enjoy your life, stop thinking there’s something wrong with you, and hope in the future. 
     
    My own dates have gotten a lot better since I stopped beating myself up for being single.  Sometimes you just really haven’t met the right guy. 

  9. 9
    Diana

    My impression about Sara’s experience is that she created opportunities for herself to possibly find love, but she stayed primarily true to her authentic self. Would any of us really want it any other way? No, of course not. As for opportunity, sometimes opportunity does come knocking, but most people simply don’t recognize it and they never open the door. And yes, sometimes we have to create those moments, too.
     
    I guess I sit on the fence about all of this sometimes. Should one change their appearance, demeanor, lifestyle, etc. to find love, when in fact, sometimes those changes can bring about a sense of uncomfortableness or maybe even an undertone of unhappiness that will be picked up on, if not directly, then in some other way that equates to still not finding love? If a person chooses to make changes that are positive and real for them, that’s fantastic, as long as it feels natural.
     
    Without knowing Sara, I don’t think the issue was with her, per se. It sounds like she lived a full life, but nothing too overbearing that would have excluded love and commitment. It’s that people can be so easily influenced by what others and society in general think, instead of carefully listening and following their own inner voice and instinct. Sara had simply not met the right man. Nothing more; nothing less. Despite what most everyone thinks, there’s no real timeline on this. It’s all a fabrication. The fact that it took her longer than most women is an unfortunate stereotype that some women choose to carry, thus likely making their search more painful and arduous which can create its own issue. People can smell desperation.
     
    By not having a boyfriend for eight years, she likely saved herself a lot of heartache, and a pattern that would have generated even more self-defeating, destructive thoughts about what was wrong with her, why did he leave and/or cheat on her, what could she have done differently to keep him, etc. Having a “boyfriend” guarantees nothing. She could have been in such a state that when she met her future husband, it would have never happened.
     
    IMHO, there are reasons for why things happen as they do. :)
     
     

  10. 10
    Honey

    Nowadays, I think that it is FAR easier than we want to admit to find someone that is compatible with us.  We just have to play the field for a number of years until we will admit it.  Now that I have been with Jake for five and a half years, I look back and think that I probably could have made it work with many of the men I dated, I just wasn’t in that place yet.  Jake isn’t THE right guy who finally came along, he’s one of the many potentially right men who came along THE MOMENT I WAS READY.

  11. 11
    helene

    You know, I’m not sure about what Honey just said… Like Sara, its 8 years since I split up with my husband, and I’m still single – I did have a 2 year relationship about half way through the 8 years but whatever, I’m STILL single. When I got divorced, I think I truly imagined I’d meet someone and be in the early stages of a new relationship within a year, and I am staggered that 8 years on, it still hasn’t happened. This has led to a lot of soul-searching, and I DO sometimes go over the long list of people I’ve dated in that time and wonder if I missed a good’un because of not being ready/looking for the wrong things/too high expectations etc…etc… But I honestly don’t feel that’s the case. There’s not ONE guy whom I’ve dated and broken up with who I regret passing on, or think I ought to have stuck with.
     
    I just turned 47 a week ago, and I am having to seriously consider whether its a good idea to continuing dating after all this time. Like Sara, I’ve done internet dating, speed dating, singles holidays, dance classes etc..etc… and I feel I’ve pretty much exhausted all avenues. I feel like I’ve dated every guy in my entire city! At what poiunt does it make sense to just stop? Like the hopeful young actress going to Hollywood to make it big and waiting tables to make ends meet in the meantime, when does “pursuing your dream” become “flogging a dead horse.”?

    Some may argue you’ve nothing to lose by continuing to actively date, but having done it for so long I would  disagree with that – it takes time, effort, commitment and energy to peruse websites, keep yourself “date ready” actually GO on dates, plus all the emotional drain it can place on you when nothing’s working – at what point do you stop putting yourself through this and decide to live your life in another way? Maybe some people have the energy to do the whole dating thing AND live a great life in other respects, but for me all the dating effort DOES take a whole chunk of  my personal resources away from other areas. Yet i know that if I stop ACTIVELY looking then my chances of meeting someone drop to almost zero – I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of dates I’ve been on in 8 years that occurred “naturally” by just going about my daily life. So people, anyone got any thoughts? When do you call it a day?!

  12. 12
    MaleReader

    This is what I have learned by dating women who are in their thirties:
    1) they are generally morose and unhappy
    2) they have had their share of abusive relationships, fwbs, exploring their sexuality in the 20s that have left them jaded and with very little enthusiasm for a true partner
    3) they have less power in the dating marketplace and are being ignored by most of the desirable men
    4) they think men who are willing to date are also willing to commit. A women can date(short term relationship) a significantly more desirable man but if she wants investment and longer term commitment then the man would have to be relatively less desirable

    None of this is a complaint, just an observation. I do my best not to date women in their thirties with a lot of emotional baggage, and I am pretty sure all other men are trying to do the same. But many men will not have that option. Thus women in their thirties have a significantly harder time attracting men’s attention.

    Have you ever heard of a 25 year old girl complaining about dating?

    1. 12.1
      Lau_ra

      Actually, yes. Don’t know how it is in USA, yet where I live its exactly like that – girls in early 20s already complain about dating. A lot. I have a crowd of girlfriends aged 22-35, and lately I notice the tendency that 20-something girls say the same stuff as 30-something women do. They get wiser and more experienced earlier now, I guess.

    2. 12.2
      m

      “Have you ever heard of a 25 year old girl complaining about dating?”

      I’ve heard 18-year-old women complain about dating.

      Of course, that has to do with the behavior – and entitlement complexes – of the men they date, something you don’t touch upon in your “list” but which certainly jumps right out at a reader in your fourth “point”, especially if that reader is reading carefully.

      (Actually, I could get into how the NiceGuy™ complex & resentment are bleeding out of your entire “list”, but I don’t have that kind of time.)

    3. 12.3
      Alex

      As an 26 year old male I have to agree. Sorry but women in their 20′s teach men to NOT marry. it’s funny because when men are loving and caring we become “Nice guys” and the only reason we are able to continue on to find dates is to do the opposite. NOT CARE. being a jerk protects us from getting close and getting hurt again. The Moment a man opens himself up to a woman in her 20s he is looked down on as weak and then kicked to the curb.

      So we get laid MORE, we have women who want to stay around longer and things work out better when we stopped caring. A Man can only be Mr. Charming so many times before it becomes a rehearsed act. We can only fall in “true love” so many times before we have heard it all. It has nothing to do with us wanting to be dominant. . We just get tired of “being a Man” when in reality too many women just want an “Entertainer” instead. They just want a good time they can kick to the side once another good time came around.

      And the few “good guys” who are left often get called creeps Just because they suck at talking to women, Aka They dont have a bunch of 1 liners and experience from screwing around with tons of women. That’s actually a good thing because an Honest man is a real man. But even then they end up becoming targets and realize they need to become “jerks” to have any chance in the dating world.

      1. 12.3.1
        starthrower

        That’s interesting because another guy up above says he won’t date women in their 30′s for being jaded an having baggage, just like you’re blaming women in their 20′s for causing you.  Women can’t win.

  13. 13
    GeminiDream

    @helene #12 
    I could have written your words.  I’m 47 years old, and it’s been 6 years of singlehood for me.  As Evan’s short reply stated, “you don’t” call it a day.  I’ve learned that I have to be my own best friend, advocate, and most importantly, cheerleader.  I have to keep putting myself out there.  I know that by putting my best out there, my turn will come, too.  Don’t give up!

  14. 14
    zann

    @ Helene — I feel your pain.  I’m quickly approaching 59 and have dated for most of the past 12 years. Most people who meet me are shocked to hear I’m still single (unless they’re also single women still in the search). Your question has crossed my mind many times: When do I call it quits and accept my single life as enough?  

    But why do we ask that question in the first place? I wouldn’t ask myself: “When do I call it quits at trying to be a writer? An artist? A fun, loving grandmother? A supportive mother? An independent woman with an admirable work history and career?” Those are endeavors in my life that ebb and flow and are part of what makes up the story of Me on this Earth. Why would you ever want to quit staying open to love?

    I totally agree that actively dating does require time, money, energy, and a certain level of humility. But so do a lot of other things. I often take breaks from the dating endeavor to re-focus, get a different perspective, and just concentrate my efforts and time on other things I enjoy. It’s not a question of when to quit, there’s no deadline that I know of.  I think it’s more a question of “How much energy do I have right now to pursue a relationship?”

    The reason this article was comforting to me is that it reminds me that I’m not alone in my quest. And as long as I don’t fall into the negative thinking of: IS IT ME? Or WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? then my life looks and feels better to me, with or without a dedicated man in it. I’m a firm believer in continued growth, regardless of my age, so learning new ways to improve my relationship skills with men is just part of that desire to not stagnate. But there is no requirement that I fulfill any goal, or that I’ve lost out if I don’t find a man. My life still has value and depth and not lacking in other kinds of love.

    Do I sound like I’m my own cheerleading squad? Probably, but, ya know, whatever works.  

    One last thing. Without putting too sharp a point on it (me? never.) — I do think that people who are IN relationships tend to be less realistic about how genuinely difficult it can be to be out there seeking, attempting to stay optimistic, maintaining self-esteem in a world that is still terrible slanted towards “the couple.” Single does not equal Loser.  Coupled people who judge and advise single people can sometimes come across as smug — whether intentional or not. A women recently came up to me at my niece’s wedding reception and asked me if there was a special man in my life now. I know she meant well — perhaps because my ex-husband was also there with his woman — and when I said, “no,” she immediately said, “Well, we’ll just have to do something about that!”  

    To me this infers that I’m not keeping up, have lost status, and assumes I’m not happy just the way I am. I’m pretty sure I was drinking wine & dancing, for pete’s sake.  Poor me.  It’s kinda like my Aunt Ruth saying years ago, “Karen is such a pretty girl; it’s a shame she’s got her mother’s heavy ankles.”  
     

  15. 15
    Ruby

    MaleReader #14

    So now we have yet another (presumably) 30-something man complaining about women in their thirties who complain about the men they date. 

    As far as 25-year-old women complaining about dating, yes, I was one once, and I complained about dating, as did my girlfriends. People can have problems with dating at any age. Most of my married girlfriends got hitched in their late 20′s-early 40′s, so apparently they weren’t that jaded or undesirable.

  16. 16
    nathan

    Going out on a limb a bit here: giving up might be exactly what some of us need to do. Specifically, giving up the attachment you have to finding and having a committed partner in your life.
     
    The way I see it, the effort of going on dates, trying out new ways to meet people, and opening space for dating and a potential new partner are all necessary ingredients. However, at the same time, none of that will necessarily lead you to getting that person you want into your life. And to push the idea above further, there’s a point where focus on finding a partner slides into obsession.
     
    In other words, sometimes more effort and mental energy are not at all what’s needed – letting go completely is is what’s needed. Because when you actually finally do that, you realize what I think Zann above is talking about – that it’s all an ebb and flow and that letting go of your desire for relationship doesn’t have to be some depressing finality, but that it’s basically about admitting that you don’t know. Don’t know if doing anything else is needed. Or if it’s going to happen or not eventually.
     
    How can you find joy and satisfaction now, as you are? Not only is this attractive to other healthy, intelligent, creative people, but it’s also an attractive way to live, period. But in my experience, it seems to require being ok with not knowing a lot. With learning to balance intelligent effort with some form of faith that it will all work out in the end.
     
     
     
     

  17. 17
    Gina

    @Zann and Helene: I understand exactly how you both feel. I’m 49 and although it’s only been 9 months since my last relationship, at the moment, I find the whole online dating process to be difficult, stressful and exhausting. I met my my last two boyfriends online and both relationships lasted for about a year. So I do think that online dating can work, but l haven’t had much success with it lately as I seem to only be attracting undesirables. Therefore, I’m taking a break from it and trying a  more traditional approach. I’ve joined some dating/social groups through an organization called Meetup.com. My attitude is that I’m participating to have fun and meet new people. If I happen to meet a great guy as a result, that would be awesome. In the meantime, the pressure is off and I’m simply having a good time. The plus is that it also gives me a chance to see how the guys who attend the various social events behave in a variety of different social settings before I date them.

  18. 18
    zann

    Nathan — I think you said it perfectly.  

  19. 19
    Diana

    To Nathan and Zann, very well said. It’s about living a full life, while letting go of so many sometimes destructive and counter productive expectations and thoughts. There are no guarantees that every single person will find the perfect mate for them, no matter how much internal/external work they may do, or the various methods they may try. And this idea that maybe you did cross paths with the right man/woman at some point in your life, but your self-sabotaging ways/thoughts caused you to turn a blind eye on what could have been so promising, but never came to fruition doesn’t feel right to me. For that moment in your life, and for the person you were at that moment in your life, they were not the right person, regardless of potential.
     
    When we allow ourselves to live in the moment, to love and enjoy ourselves and our life, we release so much negative energy that can get in the way of finding someone special. We feel more like our authentic selves, and we enjoy the dating process more. It feels more like an enjoyable hobby, instead of a miserable way to a self-imposed means. We think we know what we want, but we’re often wrong. Living this way also provides no guarantees, but above all else, you will always have yourself no matter what, for which there is no greater gift, and there is no timeline or expiration date on having hope. :)

  20. 20
    Helen

    nathan #18, amen. Love your comments.
     
    Life is short and is so full of riches. There is so much more to do and enjoy in life than a frenzied pursuit of being partnered. Being partnered shouldn’t become an obsession, because then more emphasis is placed on being coupled at last than on being with the person who is right for you.
     
    I find it a shame that there’s still a social stigma about being single. If this social stigma didn’t exist, maybe fewer people would feel desperation and depression when it comes to years of dating.  Dating shouldn’t be grueling work; it should be fun and lighthearted. Likewise, it shouldn’t be the default to assume that something is wrong with someone just because they haven’t found “the one” for years. Maybe some people just like doing things on their own or with friends. There is nothing wrong with that.

    1. 20.1
      m

      “I find it a shame that there’s still a social stigma about being single. If this social stigma didn’t exist, maybe fewer people would feel desperation and depression when it comes to years of dating. “

      QFT and RFE (repeated for emphasis).

  21. 21
    doven5

    I just want to give some encouragement to those who are “older” and have been single for a number of years. I am 47 years old and stayed single for 8 years after my divorce, even though I went on many dates. Last summer I met a guy online that I just clicked with from the beginning. Nine months later he asked me to move in with him, two months after that we were engaged, and six weeks later we were married. After all those times when dating seemed so difficult, this relationship has been so easy. I never had to wonder where I stood with him; he called and texted me consistently right from the beginning. He treats me right, makes me laugh, and is friends with everyone. I’ve never had a doubt about our relationship and everyone who knows us is always commenting on how happy we are together. Right before we met, he had given up on online dating and taken down his profile. Then his best friend met a great woman online and he decided he would give it one more shot. So he put his profile back up, we met, and the rest is history. So I’m just trying to say: Don’t give up! The right person is definitely worth the wait!

  22. 22
    helene

    Thanks everyone for your comments on this…. I definately think the stigma of being single affects me and makes me more anxious to find someone suitable – and more anxious again when its not working…
    I’ve realised I actually feel EMBARRISED about being single – crazy, really, when so many of the couples I know are in questionable relationships that I certainly wouldn’t want to be in. But being in a couple of any sort still carries higher social standing than being long-term single. I’m going to a wedding in a few weeks, and apart from the practical difficulties of going alone, I feel embarrised having to tell the bride i won’t be bringing a “plus one.”
    All the same, i definately think I’m going to take a break from dating for an indefinate period - I’ve taken myself off all websites and although there’s a huge sense of anticlimax right now and a sort of “well then, that’s it.” feeling, at the same time it is sort of liberating not to have to wade through more profiles and keep checking for messages – for now, I know there won’t be any.

  23. 23
    Trenia

    Nathan, well said! You put words to exactly what I’ve been thinking lately about dating. Sometimes you just need a break so as not to go down the path of obsession.
    Diana #21 I agree with you as well, and there is no expiration date on hope.
    As far what MaleReader #14 had to say, the same way women draw certain men to them because of their issues is the same way men draw women to them. If you’re constantly running into morose and unhappy 30-something women, that is probably who you are.
    I never get why men expect a fully grown woman with a little more life experience under her belt to keep acting like a 25 year old. Just because there are so many men who want to stay Peter Pan forever, doesn’t mean women want to stay in the same place and never grow and change.

  24. 24
    CK

    Evan,
    I always love your responses.  And you did give me something to think about re: the article.

    But I do wonder why this theme: ” it REALLY happened because she went through that process of learning and dating and soul searching” is pushed to a lot of women–especially when there is no counter point or thought ever pushed to men?  Most men do not show up relationship ready, emotionally healthy, or open either….so I wonder.
    I have a fair amount of guy friends, and none of them do ‘soul searching, etc etc’ to prepare themselves for their future mates.  If women are the only ones searching their souls, then where does that leave us at times? Isn’t that a bit lopsided?
    Just some thoughts.
     
     

    1. 24.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @CK – It IS lopsided. But what are you going to do? Force men, at gunpoint, to read John Gray books and attend Marianne Williamson seminars? No, your job is to do whatever is in your power to facilitate the relationship of your dreams – understanding men, actively dating online, learning to be more open and tolerant, not putting up with poor treatment, are all great tools to do that. The right guy will appreciate your efforts. The wrong guy won’t. Pretty straightforward.

      1. 24.1.1
        m

        “@CK – It IS lopsided. But what are you going to do?”

        1) Band together as “good men” and if/when you observe other men in your social circles behaving like brodudes and treating women badly, CALL THEM OUT ON IT.

        2) Query other men in your social circles on how their dating lives are going and if you’ve observed a special woman that was around but suddenly is not, care enough to ask what happened. And when your friend starts giving the “she just didn’t / she just wouldn’t” excuses, ask that friend if there might have been something he did — just like you ask us women — that could have contributed to and/or directly caused her to make that choice with *her* behavior. CALL THEM OUT ON IT.

        And – especially since you all are holding yourselves out as the “good men”? OFFER THEM THE BETTER EXAMPLE OF WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY.

        You all do this in business. You mentor each other – even (sometimes especially) as peers. But when it comes to doing that same sort of mentoring — you know, the kind that used to happen as a matter of course between older & younger brothers, uncles & nephews, the “alphas” in men’s social circles and the others — there are aaaaaaalllllllllll kinds of excuses.

        Most of them coming from the so-called “good men”.

        You know better than most, EMK, that men don’t listen to women about these kinds of things. They only listen to other men.

        So this is not something we women can do by ourselves, as so many dating & relationship experts & gurus suggest. We can’t do it without you. We need (see? We’re needing men! Look!) your help.

        It continues to amaze me that relationships have two people in them, but it is only one of those people — the woman — who is expected to do *all* the communication work, offer *all* the effort, sustain *all* the patience, do *all* the emotional labor. That is expected in no other relationship in the world containing two people. How do ostensibly rational and logical people expect that to continue to work?

        It can’t. Dating and relationships will continue to fail unless men do their half. It’s just math and physics (and biology, when the woman’s human system shuts down because she’s completely exhausted from all that effort with no reciprocation). It’s really that simple.

  25. 25
    Teresa

    What Nathan said. 

    I don’t necessarily agree the with the idea that “your turn will come”.  When one is over 50 one’s options as far as available men are limited and as one ages they become even moreso.  Be the best you can be and live yoru best life is all one can do. 

  26. 26
    nathan

    I support CK’s question about men doing “soul searching” – as a man who has done a hell of a lot of it. More men need to do their work, whatever that might look like, and not just expect to be accepted as is – especially if “as is” is a total mess. The guys reading this need to understand that the question CK poses is important – don’t blow it off as a complaint. If we want women with their baggage dealt with, we have to deal with our own. End of story.

    1. 26.1
      m

      “More men need to do their work, whatever that might look like, and not just expect to be accepted as is – especially if “as is” is a total mess. The guys reading this need to understand that the question CK poses is important – don’t blow it off as a complaint. If we want women with their baggage dealt with, we have to deal with our own. End of story.”

      QFT and RFE.

      I’m sure there are a lot of men reading here who aren’t listening to me about this, because I’m a woman.

      So since Nathan has said it – him being a man and all – perhaps you’ll hear it from him.

  27. 27
    Lipstick and Playdates

    Sara is like every single women I know in NYC.  During her “single days” she was constantly working on herself — traveling, taking classes, learning new things.  She never gave up hope. I see her story as a little bit of luck and a little bit of her own doing.   

  28. 28
    single schmingle

    @MaleReader (14), gross generalizations like that are exactly why YOU’RE still single.

  29. 29
    Jadafisk

    “Have you ever heard a 25 year old girl complain about dating?”
     
    Yeah. They do it all of the time. People in their late 30s don’t have a “hookup culture” that dominates romantic interactions to contend with. Ever try to get a college aged guy to settle down and start a family? It’s not the easiest thing. Also, there are some young girls who just lack male interest.

    1. 29.1
      J

      Jada, I should know, I was one of those girls. Well, to be fair I didn’t really lack male interest, not totally. It was just that the wrong males were interested. The ones I liked hardly gave me the time of day (unless they thought they might be able to score). In my mid-twenties, I gave up chasing guys. I was through putting myself out there, letting them know I was interested only to get completely shot down. I had other issues though: I was trying to figure out what the heck to do with my life, and gaining and losing weight to the point that I became severely overweight. To this day, I haven’t had a boyfriend since the guy I dated for a few months in high school (and he liked my friend more than he liked me). I’m 32 years old, about to turn 33 in a few months and I’ve never had a serious relationship. I’m still a virgin, saving myself for marriage. I have nightmares about finding a man who I think is The One, only to have him balk at these revelations. What guy wouldn’t at this age? It does look really bad after all. I’ve often wondered the same things Sara has – what’s wrong with me that I haven’t had any luck? I’m trying, but it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be to meet quality men. I am going to keep going because it is like a job hunt – you don’t stop looking until you find what you’re after. I guess my expectations when I began dating again a year ago were out of whack. I figured, hey, my skin’s finally clear, my weight is under control, I have good teeth now, plus I look damn good compared to how I did before. It should be easy to have guys asking me out! I envisioned a scenario much like in the movies, where the ugly duckling finally turns into a swan and suddenly, all the guys want her. Well, I’m coming to the realization that while I’ve improved my appearance exponentially (and continue to do so), men just don’t see me as the beautiful swan, and probably never will. If they did, my Match inbox would be full to bursting. I have an interesting profile with original sentiments, a smiling, professional-quality main head shot and two (admittedly lesser-quality) ”action” shots. But the guys are all too busy swarming the Top Model-looking chicks to care much about little old average me. I did an experiment on Plenty of Fish a year ago where I swapped out my picture for some random hot chick and posted a new account with the same interesting essay as my real one. I changed nothing on her description; not her age (31), not her body type description (average), not her height (5’7), or her relationship length (under a year). The guys went absolutely NUTS for this girl! She got over 200 responses in just one day. At that point, I had been online for SIX WEEKS and I can say with certainty that I’d probably gotten just over half that on my real profile. And the responses to my real one mainly consisted of “Hey, you’re hot, wanna chat?” The guys who messaged the fake chick on the other hand, could not get enough of how sweet, genuine, fun and down to Earth she seemed. Many of them even wrote her pages-long emails, and asked her out right in the first message. They even sent her “gifts” (you can send virtual gifts on POF that cost you “points”- to this day, I can’t remember ever getting one). Dating sucks no matter what age you are, especially if you’re not the hottest woman on the scene. I think that can bring its own set of problems, but to me any attention is better than none at all. I’m so tired of being passed over and ignored. I want my inbox to be flooded too. I want to be the kind of girl who never has to worry about getting dates. I want to be the girl who chooses to stay in on a Saturday night because she’s truly not interested in going out, not the girl who just didn’t happen to get any date offers. I want so badly for men to pursue me that way, but the reality I’ve had to face is that I will never, ever be the in-demand woman I want to be. I don’t want to be that way forever, but it would be nice if I could have that kind of attention just for a little while, until I find my Mr. Right. I thought dating was going to be so much fun: just write a good profile and put up attractive, interesting photos and watch the interested parties keep rolling in. Nope. I guess some do get to have that experience, but I don’t.

  30. 30
    Annie

    @29

    Good Comment Nathan. I think with Evan though, he is dealing with women here, so it’s more about women learning to deal with their issues, than trying to change men since that isn’t effective(for women). If we work on our issues, we can find those good men.

    But I agree that men can do more work alongside of women.

    My current partner, we’ve been friends for 7 years. He really wanted to see if we could make a relationship work so we are trying it. I’m 37, he is 49. He is far older than I would ever have liked, but he is a man who has done his work. He loves women, understands us SO well, and is such a good man. 

    So I’m going to give it a go, even with the age difference. He really has worked at becoming a better man, lover, partner and it shows. It is prevalent in the amount of women who have been quite aggressively sniffing around him also, since his last relationship ended. He is a find that’s for sure, and not because he’s an alpha stud. But because he is such a wonderful man. And that..was because he worked at it :)

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